Under the patronage of Ramallah and Al-Bireh Governorate, Bank of Palestine, Al-Bireh Municipality, ANERA and Mona Bassem Hishmeh Foundation inaugurated today, Monday 17/11/2014, the fourteenth recreational park within “Al-Bayyara Parks” project executed by the Bank, in partnership with a number of NGOs inside and outside of Palestine, in Al-Awael street in Al-Bireh city.

The opening ceremony took place in the presence of Dr. Laila Ghannam, the governor of Ramallah and Al-Bireh, Hani Naser, Assistant General Manager of the Bank of Palestine, Fawzi Abed, Mayor of Al-Bireh Municipality, Paul Butler, Regional Director of the ANERA in Palestine, Mona and Bassem Hishmeh, project partners, Khalil Rizek, President of the Chamber of Commerce in the governorate and Thaer Hamayel, Director of Marketing and Public Relations Department at the Bank of Palestine, in addition to the participation of a number of representatives of institutions, governmental bodies and parties and residents of the neighborhood.

The inauguration of the new playground was made possible through the partnership with several organizations including Welfare Association, ANERA, Mona & Bassem Hishmeh, George & Ronda Salem, with contribution from Al-Bireh Municipality, who donated the land for the establishment of the park. Bank of Palestine has inaugurated thirteen recreational parks for children in different governorates of Palestine.

Dr. Laila Ghannam, praised “Al-Bayyara” project which aims to establish public amusement playgrounds for children, expressing her appreciation to the Bank of Palestine and its partners, which, according to her, crowns the belonging of Palestinians to their land. Ghannam stated that “Al-Bayyara” is more than a place for recreation and entertainment for children, as it symbolizes our attachment to the land and our resistance and readiness to defend it; as she wonders where is the world standing in regards of human and children rights in Palestine.

Engineer Fawzi Abed also praised Bank of Palestine’s initiative to create public recreational parks for children in different neighborhoods throughout the country, emphasizing that caring for children and promoting and developing their talents is in accordance to the municipality’s strategy; he indicates that this park is the sixth to launch in AL-Bireh City and work is underway to prepare a new park in the upcoming period. The municipality is also working on establishing four other parks in cooperation with related institutions, especially that the latest statistics indicated that 47% of Al-Bireh residents are children.

Paul Butler valued the Bank’s vision which he sought through to find an educational and entertaining place for children; he stated that the construction process is not limited to building schools, hospitals and other centers, but it is necessary to establish places that provide children with entertainment in the difficult political and economic conditions. Butler added that ANERA hopes to continue its partnership with the Bank of Palestine to make this project successful as it reflects proper thinking and the humans’ attachment to develop their lives.

Hani Naser, Assistant General Manager of Bank of Palestine considered “Al-Bayyara” project initiated by the bank, as one of the most important vital projects in the Palestinian society, as it aims to meet the children’s needs and provides them with an appropriate place to play away from the streets and dangerous places. Naser added that the park will contribute to a healthy upbringing for the children, and will help them to think, develop and innovate, in addition to spending distinctive and fun times with friends and family, which is rarely found in our communities yet greatly needed like any other community in the world. The Bank’s initiative to create the parks became more compelling after painful accidents to children as they played in dangerous populated locations, like the streets and other constricted locations.

Basem Hishmeh, one of the partners in this project who lives outside of Palestine, expressed his belief in the importance of taking care of Palestinian children, noting that providing them with support is a national duty and he promises the children to continue collecting donations from the Palestinians and Arabs living in the United States in order to establish more parks. Hishmeh stated that the donations were collected from the Holy Land Association and Palestinians in San Francisco; he adds that as the occupation kills and robs Palestinian land, it is necessary to continue working and establishing projects because Palestine is our country and our children should be able live in it safely and freely.

Al-Bayyara Project is a national project initiated by the Bank of Palestine in partnership with Welfare Association, ANERA, Mona & Bassem Hishmeh, George & Ronda Salem who are Palestinian expatriates seeking to build hundreds of recreational facilities for children; the Bank works on developing and expanding the project on a large-scale national level.